Three bills, all of which bear impact on trafficked, as well as missing and exploited children were on the House’s voting schedule for this week… and all were voted on yesterday afternoon with each bill passing the House via a voice vote, meaning we cannot check how Rep. Hunter voted. But here are brief summaries of these bills, each of which is now en route to the Senate, which ought to do good for our nation’s children.
H.R. 1808 the “Improving Support for Missing and Exploited Children Act of 2017” aimed to update the Missing Children’s Assistance Act so that it specifically included “child sex trafficking and sextortion” as one form of child exploitation and was more in line with the, “best practices currently utilized at the state and local levels to recover missing and exploited children” (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1808/text, https://policy.house.gov/legislative/bills/hr-1808-improving-support-missing-and-exploited-children-act-2017). The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is the primary federal agency impacted by the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, supports the passage of this bill (http://www.missingkids.com/home). The fact sheet from the House Education and the Workforce Committee, one of the Committees that reviewed this bill, is available at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401643
H.R. 1809, the “Juvenile Justice Reform Act”, due to the complexity of its subject matter – juvenile justice, is rather long and detailed but it puts forth new requirements for evidence based strategies, state plans, the federal government to align with state and local jurisdictions, etc… and allocates more monies – $1.1 billion from 2018-2022, to be exact – “to the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to operate programs to reduce juvenile justice delinquency, assist runaway and homeless youth, and locate missing children. An additional $500 million is authorized to be spent in the years after 2022” (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1809/summary). There are aspects of this bill that some juvenile justice experts may find disagreement with but it is a bill that has received bi-partisan support. Detailed information and fact sheets on this bill can be found at: https://democrats-edworkforce.house.gov/download/juvenile-justice-re-authorization-fact-sheet-, https://policy.house.gov/legislative/bills/hr-1809-juvenile-justice-reform-act-2017,http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401533, https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-115hrpt111/pdf/CRPT-115hrpt111.pdf, http://publicleadershipinstitute.org/model-bills/public-safety/juvenile-justice-reform-act/, https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-115hrpt111/pdf/CRPT-115hrpt111.pdf). A text of the bill can be viewed at: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1809/text.
H.R. 2473, “Enforcing Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2017” “directs the Attorney General to provide training to prosecutors on investigating and processing cases with a trauma-informed and victim-centered approach, and encourages state to provide appropriate services to victims of trafficking. The bill also requires reports on the implementation of state safe harbor provisions and on how to improve mandatory restitution procedures for victims of trafficking in federal courts…. The bill also requires the Attorney General to report on these efforts and instructs the National Institute of Justice to develop comprehensive methodologies in analyzing trends of human trafficking in the U.S.” (https://policy.house.gov/legislative/bills/hr-2473-put-trafficking-victims-first-act-amended). The bill itself can be read at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2473/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+2473%22%5D%7D&r=1 and is worth reading.